tv Tonight From Washington CSPAN January 28, 2011 8:00pm-11:00pm EST
prime minister of the united kingdom, and how good it is sometimes to interest in the opposition. a key theme of this meeting is about responding to the new reality and there can be no doubt that the prime minister is a kind of champion when we deal with this issue. we listen to this challenge of adapting to the new reality with ambition and with great convictions. since taking office in may 2010, sir prime minister has led a government coalition with the liberal democrats. they have already delivered more reforms than many governments achieve in an entire electoral term, and you have done so in
times of difficult economic circumstances. from these measures in restructuring health care and launching a major overhaul of the british social security system, you, mr. prime minister, have shown decisive steps towards restoring financial stability and delivering economic growth, but i think we all want to hear it from yourself, so please join me in welcoming sir prime minister, driefd cameron. -- david cameron. [applause] >> thank you very much, professor. it's been four decades since you've first up visited -- invited european business leaders up this mountain, and you gave them a message.
modernize and adapt or fall behind and fail. 40* years on, here we are again. no one can deny what a difficult position europe is in at the moment. four years # of annual growth wiped out. unemployment risen to double best of my knowledges. yes, recovery has begun, but countries like china is steaming ahead and in europe, the drag on growth was persistent. the world share of growth is projected to fall by just under a third in the next two decades, and no one is immune. this week, we had disappointing growth estimates back at home. yes, they were partly driven by the terrible weather that shut down airports, factories, and schools, but we should be frank. they also brought home something that we have said for months. given the trouble of recent
years, the recovery was always going to be choppy. as we meet in davos, the big questions are these. how are we beginning to get our -- going to get our economies going? how do we get europe going? how do we double growth? there's some who say the slow pace growth for europe is inevitable. they are the pessimists, and this if you like are their charter. one, we in europe are incapable of solving our deft and deficit problems. two, we are unable to compete with dynamic economies because weir overburden -- we're overburdened. three, we are hard wired to be consumers, not producers, and four, we're attached to liberal values that are leaving us behind the jug naught of
capitalism. today, i wanted to make the case for optimism. the case for optimism in our future. we can overcome the problems, but need a change in direction. huge deficits don't fall out of the sky. complex rules that restrict the labor markets are not some naturally occurring phenomena that we can do nothing about. crushing regulation is not some plague that has somehow been visited upon us. all of these, all of these result from the decisions that we have made either alone or together. in many ways, we in europe have been our own worst enemy, but that also means the power is within us to change, to make it easier for businesses to start up and prosper, to open new markets within europe and between europe and the rest of the world, and with so many of europe's leaders committed to open markets and reform, i would argue there has never been a
better time to do this and pursue this agenda. in less than eight weeks, bewill announce our budget for growth at home, and i would also set out a specific plan for growth in europe. today, i want to talk about the new direction that europe needs to take. our first priority must be to kill off the spector of massive sovereign debt. those who argue dealing with our deficit and promoting growth are somehow alternatives are wrong. you cannot put off the first in order to promote the second. average government debt in the european union is almost 80% of gdp. some countries are again borrowing 5%-7% of gdp again this year. the figure for the u.k. is more than 10%. this is clearly unsustainable and action cannot be put off.
let me put this in context. remember what we started with in the u.k.? an economy built on the worst deficit, the most leveraged banks, the most indebted households, the biggest housing boom, and unsustainable levels of public spending and immigration. i think of where we need to go to. an economy based not on consumption and debt, but on saving and investment. not government spending, but on entrepreneurial dinism. not in one corner of the country, but in every business in every part of the country with a new emphasis on exports, manufacturing, and trade. to get to where we were to where we need to be is not easy. you can't just flip the switch or pump the bubble back up again. making this transformation, and it is a transformation requires
pain spaking work, and it takes time. it requires paying down billions of debt. new factories need to be built. new businesses need to be developed. it is going to be tough, but we must see it through. the scale of the task is immense, so we need to be bold in order to build this economy of the future, and the british people i believe understand these things. they know that there are no shortcuts to a better future. now, we are already making progress. not long ago, we were aheading towards the danger zone where markets start to question your credibility, yet in the past eight months, we've seen our credit rating which was on the brink of being downgraded affirmed at the aaa level. we saw market interest rates in
danger of spiraling upwards actually fall. all this happened not because of the plans. allies to this fiscal discipline has to be the reform and disciplining of europe's banks. last year's round of stress tests didn't go far enough. they said we were 3.5 million euros short. the banks needed ten times that. this year's tests have to be tougher stroaching over -- stretching over a three year period covering independent bodies like the ims, but above all, more than anything else what we urgently need in europe is an aggressive transcontinental drive to unleash enterprise. at home, we cut corporation tax, funded new enterprise allowance, and got a grip on regulation.
we sent huge trade regulations all over the world accepting the message that britain is open for business. in the essential work of sorting out the deficit, we made the decision to prioritize growth. we are making cuts to the welfare budget which is # hugely difficult. we can transport huge projects over the roads and railways. we are boosting the number of apprenticeships while making deep cuts elsewhere and striking the right balance between tax and spending can spending cuts taking three quarters of the strain and tax rises just a quarter, and where we are rising taxes, it's on what people spend so that we don't have to hike up taxes on jobs or on business. this is not just about what we do in our domestic economies. we need boldness in europe not least on deregulation. i've had conversations with many european leaders about this, most recently with prime
ministers. we are agreed. we cannot afford to go on loading costs on businesses. i believe there's clear things that we need to do. we should bring in a one-in one-out rule for europe so every time it increases a regulation, one has to go. set a new and tough target to reduce the regulatory burden over the life of this current european commission. we should give small businesses which are the engines of job creation an exemption, a complete exemptions from regulations. if we took them out of the rules alone, it saves them 2 billion euros. now is the time to go for a genuinely single market, nearly 20 years of people and services, we have companies employing teams of lawyers so they can trade over the boundaries. once said, nobody can fall in
love with a single market, and frankly, if we carry on like this, no one ever will. let's look how to end the restrictive rules, where businesses can set up, how many people they can employee, and most importantly, let's deliver on this with a tough transparent approach to enforcing the single market. fail here, and we fall further behind. succeed, and we can add 180 billion euros to europe's economy. now, of course, our biggest ambition should be for innovation. i don't believe for one moment we need to be down beat about this in europe. it was british scientists that unraveled the genome, helped invent the ipod, developed the worldwide web. where is the quality for design? not the u.s., not china, but europe. we have the raw steriles for good -- raw materials for good ideas,
but we have to use them. every venture capital in europe more than 7 times that amount is invested in the u.s.. we have to do more to invent vise the risk taking investment culture over here. back home, we introduced a paper box offering a 10% tax rate on patient's income, but actions like this are worth little if we can't break the deadlock on european wide systems. do you know how long we discussed this in europe? 40 years. the truth is we can talk all we like about making this continent the capital of innovation, but it costs up to 35,000 euros to get patents in 13 member states. it is never going to happen. the possibility of progress is there, we just have to seize it. we can develop even more of the goods and services that the world wants to buy, and that's precisely why we in europe
should not be cautious, but actively aggressively pushing for it. i know speakers talk about how this is essential and a matter of urgency, and i agree, but we have to be clear how it's actually going to happen. not with more words, but with more on the table from all sides. a little more on safeguards in agriculture, a little more on industrial goods, especially from emerging markets, more on all sides on services where the games frankly are -- gains frankly are huge. no more stubbornness or hiding offers in back pockets. this is the absolutely crucial moment. 2011 is the make or break year, and there are other things we must do at the same time. last year, we signed a free trade agreement with south korea with up to 33 billion euros with eu exporters we have to do the same with latin america, canada,
the middle east. we have the goods the worldments to buy. we have to have the confidence to get out there and sell them. that's one final thing. in europe we should have more confidence about our values. the value of liberal democracy used to be sacred in the west, and now some people are dicing it. they see authoritarian capitalism and the way it works. they see political leaders with power just forcing decisions through, and some argue that against this are little demographic values that are dated or ineffective, almost an obstacle to success. i completely disagree. it is these values that create the climate for innovation. look at where the big ideas come from, the facebooks, the vast majorities are from open societies like ours. that's because good ideas come through freedom, free thinking, free association of like-minded people. values also create the right
climate for business too. if you are looking to set up a aheadquarters abroad, will you up vest where your premises can be taken away from you in where contracts are broken? are you going to invest where there's property rights? the root of law? democratic accountability? these values aren't some great constitutional adult, but an inreversible part of our success today and into the future, and we must never forget that. my message today is one of confidence. we are an open trading continent. we have a prime record of innovation. we have advanced democratic values, but yes, we have to recognize that europe has got to earn its way. the world doesn't owe us a living. let us make the choice to do things differently, fight for prosperity, and i believe if we set our sights high, if we take both decisions in deregulation, open up the single market on
innovation, on trade, we can defy the pessimists, and together we can recover our dine ism. thank you. [applause] >> thank you. i'll just take off. [applause] silence, that must be an absolute first. sir? there's a microphone i think, a lady there, can you pass it along the line? >> i'm from holland. do you think we need one currency in europe to make your aspirations come true? [laughter] >> i want to euro to succeed. britain is not in the euro.
we're not going to join the euro. i side the euro, but there's vast things i can get into if you want me to. britain has a real interest in the euro succeeding and sorting out its problems. 50% of the exports go to the e.u., 40% go to other countries. we won't stand the way of the euro sorting out its problems, but i believe a country the size of britain, it makes sense to have our own
>> i work that and i want to build on that. i mentioned china once in an extremely important way which is china is one the engine's of the world economy, and that is extraordinarily welcomed in a number of years when growth in the world has been so weak, but i think the brittish-china relationship is strong and can get stronger. when i went to see president hu,
we talked about being partners for growth because just as china wants markets for its products, it is also looking for countries to up vest in in europe, -- invest in in europe, and britain is probably the most welcoming, most globalized economy in the world. it is one the easiest places to start a business, invest in properties that float on the stock exchange. also, as china develops, i think the market for china for services, for intellectual property, for goods that britain produces is very great. we are partners for growth, and one of the things to share with china and need to get across in this world today is that trade investment and cross border flows are not some 0-sum game. this is my worry that too many world leaders talk of it. every export for them is a great success, but any import from
somebody else is a terrible failure. the prize is hundreds of billions of dollars gaining in the world's economy. if we accept by opening up the world trade system, actually, we will all fit and grow, but it's only with world leaders speak like that that we'll be able to instruct the negotiators to get together to put it on the table to make this happen in a way to benefit china, the u.k., and also benefit hugely developing worlds as well. gentleman here. >> mr. prime minister, -- >> i've been to india once too, so that -- [laughter] >> i want to complement you that you have low graded and have solutions to cure it. we have been hearing different
views from different leaders. i would like to know how much confidence you are with your plans in intimidation, and what is your vision you think the european economy will turn around? >> right. well, first of all. i'm sure you'll hear different things from different people because we're all individuals, but what i find encouraging when i look at fellow leaders in europe, i see a number of real entewsiests for the agenda is more growth, more investment, and i like -- when i look in holland, sweden, germany, i recently had a states in the united kingdom, the first time this happened with the u.k. there, and all of us agreed we need a different approach in
europe. i see quite a common approach it is time for europe to move in a different direction that really encourages growth in our economy. that's the first point. in times of what we have to do in the u.k. and what many other european countries are doing in terms of getting the deficit under control, my argument is just this. you cannot put this off, and for very good reasons. as i said, the eu is 80% debt to gdp ratio, and you have countries borrowing 5%-7 percent this year, and in our case, 10%. when you're in that situation, you cannot put it off. the point i make is this. when we came to power in may, britain was beginning to be linked with countries like greece and ireland because the markets were questioning and are we able to pay our debts that we have taken on. we have to take ourselves out of that danger zone with an ambitious program, but it is a program that happens over several years because when you
have a 10% deficit, you cannot deal with it all at once, but i'm confident if we stick to the program, deliver our promises, then actually the british economy and european economy as i argued in my speech can bounce back. we have huge advantages in the world. we have some of the best universities, some of the brightest inventors, some of the world's most successful country. in britain we have the international language and center of the time zone and we're linked into all the world east best organizations whether it's the e.u., common wealth, nato, or special relationship with america, and we have very good and growing links with china as i just said and an extremely strong relationship with india. for those reasons i'm confident britain can be a great success story of this new decade, but with all turn arounds, you have to deal with the problems in front of you, but when you put
them off, you're confronted by them later in a more aggressive fashion. over here in the blue shirt. i can't see anyone really, i don't know whether i mentioned your country or not, but let's hope so. [laughter] >> i'm peter browr, the chairman of broomberg, obviously the financial system in the city is london is crucial. how do you view the city and what are your plans for the future? >> yeah. first of all, britain has a big competitive advantage of being one the great capitols of global finance, and the city of london and financial institutions are a great strength to our economy, and when i think of the city, i just don't think of big investment banks. i think of people working in call centers, people working insurance, not just in london, but in edenberg, bristol, birmingham ham. it is a strength of the economy, but the tragedy of the last
decade with a lot of economic growth, but that growth was based on too narrow a basis of our economy. when you actually look at i think 75% of the growth basically came from financial services, housing, government spending, and immigration. that is not a sustainable level for economic growth, and that is why we do need to rebalance our economy with great emphasis on exports, manufacturing, high-tech, on green industries not ignoring the city of london. it will go on being a great success, but we need to see greater sources of growth for our economy as a whole. because we were so overreliant on the city, because we were so overleveraged, that was one the reasons why the crash hit us so badly. we learned lessons from that, but i certainly understand the strength of the city london brings. it is one of our competitive advantages and why businesses from all over the world want to grow and invest in britain
because of that access to capitol and finance. i don't want to lose that advantage, and as a prime minister, aisle fight ex-- i'll fight extremely hard in terms of regulation that's sometimes threatened. i sense other leaders want a share of the business we managed to get in the u.k., and i'm not going to let that go. lady here? >> prime minister, could i ask, you talked about the good things europe has, but it has an aging population with state funded health and pension systems. can you talk about how those should be tackled? >> yes, that's a very, very good question. too often we sit around in european places and talk about the current issues in front of europe, but we actually don't address the big issues which is we have failing welfare systems
costing us far too much money, and we have pension systems we have to modernize. every country is looking at raising pension ages. it is something we have a program for in the u.k., and we have a program for modernizing our pension system. we have to create a system that encourages people to save, and the system we inherited is there's so much taken when you reach pension, that it's wrong for a financial institution to advise someone in their 30s to save. that is crazy. we have to create a system that encourages greater independence, greater incentives to save, and have to have one that is affordable. we have to recognize people are living longer, people want to go on working for longer, went we have to -- and we have to make these reforms. we are getting rid of the pension forms and the retirement
age, people think at 65 people come to end of their working life. i know others who are still working into later ages. we have to get with the program. i think the pressure within the euros will get greater. i think it's hard for german taxpayers to understand why they must pay for other people in europe to retire earlier than they do. if you're in the -- if you're not in the euro zone, you have to compete with the rest of the world and that means looking at taxpayers and the wealth creators. last question with the lady over here. >> thank you, prime minister. the president of university, and very much enjoyed your work. you commented on the importance of competitiveness and innovation and britain has some of the best universities in the world. i know it's been a difficult time for investments, but how do you plan to invest in universities going forward, and
what can universities do to support your innovation agenda? >> yeah, i think if countries like mine are going to succeed in the future, it's going to be around the knowledge-based industries where we invent, create, exploit, export. that's what we have to think about, and universities play a huge part in that, and i just take a very logical sensible straightforward view. you need universities. you need them to be well funded to be competitive. where's the money coming from? in the end, just two places. you can ask the taxpayer for more money an you can get graduates themselves to make a contribution. they are having to cut public spending programs and argue that at the same time as that, we can put more into universities and that is clearly for the birds.
what we you won't be paying that money not but if you do succeed you will pay that money so on average graduates earned across their lives about an extra 100,000 pounds compared to the non-graduates so while this is a difficult reform i think britain is actually showing the way that we can deliver really great universities that respond more to what the students themselves want in a way that we can afford, and one of the assumptions i think in recent years has been somehow that universities are creating degrees that aren't really worthwhile. they aren't going to find whether that is true or not because the students themselves are going to be making the choice where they go and bearing a greater part of the burden of the cost of the degree and they will be more aggressive frankly
asking is this a good university, what does this cost me, how many lectures to like it, how many professors are going to be teaching me? in the past i think people treated this too much as just part of their lifestyle. and now i think the universities are going to have to compete more with each other to be excellent and students will be asking tougher questions of what they are getting. how we think we are going to take on chinese graduate and indian graduates and beat them in this global world it is an important move to make. thank you all for coming this morning and for the warm welcome. thank you very much indeed. is back the german chancellor will discuss the eurocurrency in regulation of european financial markets. her remarks are a half-hour. >> translator: ladies and gentlemen, i very gladly accepted your invitation to come to davos.
again, i was here two years ago and this year the theme is -- i think that essentially describes in a not sell the new reality and a part of that is that we have learned we are mutually dependent on each other. the global network of players who know each other and so whoever was doubt thing about this i think just had to look at the collapse of lehman brothers and the aftermath of that to understand what was at stake because who forgot about it international interdependency about close integration i think decided that something like that should never happen again, so the past two years also have actually been very comforting
because politicians have demonstrated that they are capable of acting, that the world generally, the international community has proved that it can actually work against the crisis and the technical crisis. we have had the first meeting of opportunity in washington and have laid quite considerable strides in regulations. so all of that shows that politicians show themselves capable of action. so the positive lesson we have learned is that the worst thing we were able to prevent, the collapse of the global economy as we know it, but the problem is have we actually learned the lessons out of this? can we actually safely say that we will be able to prevent further crisis from happening? can we say we have the necessary mechanisms in place in order to ensure sustainable growth globally and for the duration?
and i would say we have laid down the groundwork for this, but generally we have to say we are not there yet. what we have done is not yet sufficient, and now that we feel that the crisis is not something that dominates the headlines every day we have run the very real risk that also among the members of the g20 there is perhaps less of an effort, less of a sense of urgency, and i think that is exactly the danger we need to work against because we have an enormous job yet to be done. those answers are not yet -- those questions are not yet answered. the main question is can we actually present such a crisis from happening again and can we ensure sustainable growth for the world as we know it only when we can get a safe answer to
these questions have we actually completed the job. we need to do more. we need to regulate more. we have every financial center, every financial player has to be made insubordinate to supervision. so far we have not yet really truly coordinated international response. the question what happens is a big institution is an important bank is accretive collapsing how can we avoid the tax payer in the end footing the bill? how can we prevent that from happening again? what's more important is what have we done to ensure lasting sustainable growth and the french bdy 20 presidency this year is of prime importance in this context because this marks the transition from the crisis mode to a phase where the world has to learn to work together better and more durable we not
only in a crisis but always. and the agenda of the french president outlined here i think has the the emphasis on the points that we already -- we agree on a framework for growth. a framework for sustainable, strong and equitable growth. we have to look at different aspects of it that play a very important role in this respect and will enable us to forward this kind of policy. first we have to concentrate on the currency. i feel we have to understand that exchange rates always had me to reflect the fundamental danger of an individual country so they could depend on the economic situation of a given country. the currency system has to be so robust that it can prevent financial access is that there will be no destabilizing capital
flow coming and we also have to see to it that in balances all over the world are not allowed to plead and save salt unrestrained. on balances will always happen when there is a difference and competitiveness, so that, again, will also be our task to try to put out competitiveness on a more equitable basis. germany gladly accepted the challenge to discuss this together with mexico and a working group to look at the future of the global currency system. that has to a task we will not be able to save over night but we, germans are glad to shoulder that responsibly. second, the most worrying point after the crisis that we have seen is that there are certain
indications for the more protectionist policies. free trade is probably arguably the simplest form to give a boost to global growth and also the equitable forms so the conclusion of the ground is of utmost importance out of this year i will have an opportunity to debate this with david cameron and turkey and india and we have initiated a policy where to get there on the basis of a report drawn by sutherland that allows us to finally reach that goal. we are literally meters away from this finishing line so if we are not reaching this finishing line, and i am saying this loud and clear, decades will go live without this opportunity ever offering itself again.
so the conclusion of the doha round is the precondition for the fair and equitable and robust growth of over the world. each and everyone needs to do his or her best, but in the and i think it will be worth hour while and this goes to each and every country in the world. third, we need to concentrate on the commodity speculation. on the one hand we need to concentrate on the volatility of the prices which is not only dangerous to those who actually sell them it is also dangerous for those who buy those commodities. but often important is the attitudes to set up the transfer and systems when we look at the commodities and there has to be also fair access to the commodities. there are a number of forums all over the world where this is debated. just think that is also a very pertinent case and we need to concentrate on this growth and it needs to become predictable, needs to become sustainable, it
needs to be shaped in an equitable way. so these are the most important points on the agenda for growth. currency, trade, and commodities these are very important issues that need to be debated globally in the framework of the jaunty and then each and every region has to look at its homework and live up to its responsibility. >> that brings me to my home region to europe. in the crisis europe acted in a coordinated fashion and show its resolve to tackle the crisis head-on. we initiated stimulus packages, we save the banking sector's, so that demanded quite a lot of effort from us, but now we obviously have to contend with the consequences because we now have a very crisis of indebtedness and let me tell you very clearly there is no crisis
as such. this is essentially a debt crisis, and in many ways one could have predicted this crisis from happening but we now have to overcome it and tackle and overcome. two years ago germany already in the crisis as i told you when i came here last decided to incorporate and the constitution of the debt break. so no matter what political parties will be at the helm of the country we have to ensure the stability and sound public finances are for the day. for germany is in part because next year we will see a very important, the next few years we will see a very important demographic change. we have an aging society that will be very various and that's why we have to tackle this. we've been quite often criticized for the fact that we said that we need to pursue this. we have been told you need to contribute to growth and
concentrate on consultation. the past two years we've made a very interesting experience. after this the enormous slowdown that we have had, we had a 3.6 growth of a sudden, and this was expert driven in the beginning quite clearly. i've always said there's going to be a new deck of cards on the table in this crisis. china, the asian countries will be the big winners emerging but we without expert opportunities than also, given the chance to participate in the global growth, but interesting is in the second half of the last year and very strongly this year, consumer confidence has returned to germany and we have a very strong boost that was given to the domestic consumption. that to me is an example of sound fiscal policy and growth. it doesn't need to be a contradiction in hand. the consumer confidence is a very important tool that allows you to stimulate growth and so
we can say the budgetary consolidation remains of prime importance and hasn't done us any damage, quite the contrary. now europe has a problem with high indebtedness, and let me say this clearly yet again. the bureau is our currency and it is much more than just the currency. it is, if you like, it is the embodiment of europe today. i quite often said this. should the euro fail? europe as the work of peace and a political constriction. europe, today, for us, i continent of 500 million even fair competition with others. it allows us to pull our resources and defend our common interest so we are going to defend the bureau. there is no doubt about this, and we need to pursue a policy
of the stability of the year ago. we have to show solidarity. we've shown the solidarity by setting up funds that gave guarantees better standing up for those countries that are in difficulty. but we also have to be realistic. it's quite often said that this is a resource of speculation. yes, but the speculations have also -- the speculations have a root in reality and this is why we have to do away with the root causes of the speculation. the trust of the market that these very high debts will actually be reduced once growth picks up. that confidence as of yet isn't there on the markets. and so, it's so important to me and has always been the solidarity can only be one side of the coin. solidarity's and important and shown that solidarity needs to go hand-in-hand with sound
public finance stability and better competitive best. this crisis i am certain and saying this on behalf of the whole of the european union it has shown a one thing very clearly and maybe also has changed the way we think. indebtedness is the biggest danger on the biggest risk for prosperity on the continent. this is why we have to work against that but we also have to resolutely work for enhanced competitiveness. protection of the euro needs to be linked with charting a new course. the member states of the european union who are joined by the euro as a common currency. this means we now need to do something we haven't done to a sufficient extent when the hero was introduced mainly work together in a more coordinated
fashion both politically and economically. this will not happen overnight. certain matters will be done fairly quickly and others will take a long period of time. we will do this in concert with france. we want to put out a marker for the year rose own for not only reducing our debt, but also for boosting competitiveness and work together more closely, coordinate more closely politically. there will be a number of issues we shall work on over the next few months. look to give an example. you cannot have a common currency and social security system that complete the [inaudible] so one of the same currency area, the pension age and demographic situation should in some way have a kind of relationship with each other. i think what also has to be done is that we need to free up the
possibility for investment. red tape has to be cut and we have to concentrate on competitive jobs. the reality of the day as we are not in europe has yet competitive enough at least not in all the different areas and we haven't yet sufficiently comes to be to secure our competitiveness. i am convinced we are able to do this. we have all of the conditions in place but we must work on our current laws as it were. we also need to give a boost to the investments in the government take out as compared to consumption and we have to show all of those in a convincing way that are keeping a close eye on europe coming and we are actually using the best among us and not a sort of medium or sort of average because we don't want to be only a similar with each other in europe.
that may lead us down a slippery slope. that's something i don't want to read the answer for europe must be global competitiveness and this must be for all of our future policies, for all of our future political coordination. we feel committed to this id should pursue it resolutely. what is part and parcel of this is enhancing the growth part. we need to read gained confidence and all of you who have kept your eyes on europe just look what we have done the past 12 months. we have enhanced the stability and now we have to prove we abide by the rules. we have allowed it to be more on the macroeconomic criteria. this needs to be coupled with a more coordinated and economic policy. so we need to do our homework. solidarity and competitiveness if you liked should be two sides
of the same claim of european competitiveness and that it why is it important for me whoever did solidarity also needs to receive the solidarity and the conditions people need to do their own home or get home. this is what we have to do. this is our task and as europeans we should give the regional contribution to what we can put on the table at the g20. let us reflect a moment on the those for whom we do this in the crisis when we say bank and initiate fiscal stimulus package, not only the citizens have the impression that we were actually driven by the economic crisis that we were lagging behind and we should i think now take a break and reflect for whom we are doing this in the
interest of the citizens of the world over. so we as politicians ought to concentrate on shaping our policies and such a way and that is the great opportunity at the chance we have after this crisis we should do this in the interest of our people. using the forces of the market but in the interested to the benefit of four people. so we know this is not possible without getting closer to each other. i told you this already two years ago. i'm not and to underline this again but we also need global response of the. we need global bodies that tell us quite clearly this is the wrong kind of policy and that we have to accept with this body tells us as that's probably the most difficult learning process that we allow others to tell us where we are wrong. but shared norms are really what
is the essential in order to enable us to meet the challenges of this new reality to the benefit of the people for whom we are responsible. this ought to be over by liben and it's actually fun to do it. thank you very much. [applause] >> translator: madam chancellor, many thanks for that visionary out line of our way forward. you said at the outset that the currency really establishes an individual country's competitiveness. within europe and outside, there are different levels of
competitiveness. how do you see the balance from the perspective of the euro? d.c. gets overvalued or undervalued? >> i don't want to interfere with the evaluation but that stance through market forces. i feel that there is no harmonious space to these evaluations. and so that's why i say we need to steer a clear course. we are not in the currency union because of a currency union you don't have the possibility of members to actually devalue the currency. so it's so important not to say in this principal at least there's no reasonable alternatives to it but to have a more consistent and coherent economic policy in the competitiveness because if we are to drift further apart, the
euro and the way that it stands with its evaluated would be a theoretical kind of exercise and they wouldn't reflect the position of the countries and the competitiveness. if we look at the present situation and if you like to comedienne and not look at the more competitive country setting the pace if we were doing that we would allow the euro to slip, and that, i think is really the center of a fairly lively debate at this point but we will all live up to this responsibility because we need to remain competitive. >> madam chancellor, when we speak about europe, questions of identity also a rise. we have not only a rational aspect but also the emotional aspect. the post war generation, my
generation, had a ideal of what europe had to be. no more war. perhaps the of the perspective is the social market economy. it to you i could almost say that your vision is a market economy with a human face. >> translator: that is basically with the economy was all about. i think it is proven that the time and in particular in this crisis we have seen this interaction of both sides of the industry have worked well on the programs the government set out where accepted and helpless. i think this particular issue is something we should never side of. europe was clearly this is a
continent where over centuries the nation fought wars against each other and this ought to be a thing of the past and peace should remain. if i look around these days, there are many areas of the world where we would be very, very pleased if they had already reached their particular stage but what is important is that it's not as it now in the present situation this will be replaced by something that it's complemented by something else and the world today, our ideas of share value of humanity, of dignity, human-rights, we wish to bring these to the floor and wished to fight in this world of today and at the same time also for economic prosperity and economic competitiveness. that is something we can only do if people stand together. as we ask on the next level of you like but we would lose everything if we would put a
question mark over these matters of peace and also over the peace and coexistence and he would be surprised how quickly than this would get by again to the old cliche of the old prejudice. many countries have to resort to hard policies but it should never result in a situation where we fall back into the saddle of the past. we need to absolutely present this. -- prevent this. >> one final question. you've spoken today and before representatives of companies and industries. over the last two years politicians have taken very difficult and tough decisions. how do you see the partnership with business and the economy in achieving the goals that have to be achieved and sitting out a path to those goals.
would you say to the people in this room? >> translator: my wish would be regulation where necessary. it does not speak to baby people will then say how naive. she's a politician. quite rightly so if she were in the business but for the interest in the long-term prosperity of long term success should rally around this point if we want to forge a sustainable growth policy we should not only try to avoid regulation, we should try to set growth on a continued basis. second, i would hope those who work in the real economy also try to bring their interest to the floor because the real
economy without having its own responsibility actually was effective and negatively affected by the financial crisis, so i think they're ought to be more dialogue between the financial institutions and the so-called real economy what is good for each and every one. the financial business has to be fair. it has brought the world for word, it has an agenda the enormous growth but it should serve the real economy because with that it is not a job, but the globalization and the new norms if only in economy were to pursue that it wouldn't work but you i know have met a lot of meetings here in davos about this and so with those who are here and i am preaching probably to the wrong charge and combat and already you have already
>> i just finished edmund morris on theodore roosevelt. c-span: you mentioned roosevelt several times. >> because he aggressively used the u.s. power, which i did as well. in my case to defend the country. my presidency was defined by september 11th. and on that today i vowed to use every legal means at my disposal to protect america and i have to believe that's the most important job of the world. one of the interesting things about protecting american in the long run is to encourage democracy. to spread freedom. because that ultimately marginalizes ideologues who use murder as a weapon to spread their view.
on january 20th, 1981, iran released 52 americans who had been held hostage for 444 days. today the american foreign service association marked the anniversary of the state department. five of the hostages described there could devotee in this discussion moderated by andrea mitchell of nbc news. this is just over an hour. >> welcome to all of you. i'm susan johnston the president of the american foreign service association and i would like to also welcome our c-span audiences and all the other news organizations present with us. it's a privileged to welcome all of you today on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the release of american hostages in iran. i'd like to think you all for joining in publicly recognizing and honoring the courage and the dedication of these 52 american
diplomats as well as their spouses and families. of the members of our military rescue team who lost their lives in the rescue attempt and not least, our fellow diplomats from canada, who at great risk to themselves koschel herd american diplomats not taken hostage and arrange for their safe return to the united states. i would also like to acknowledge -- [applause] thank you i would also like to acknowledge the contributions of the negotiators and interpreters who secured the release of the hostages. the medical personnel who treated them, and the many others who had a hand in obtaining the freedom of the hero's and getting them back home. we pay tribute to the courage and heroism of all of them today
this occasion also reminds us of the colleagues who willingly served and continue to serve today and difficult and dangerous situations around the world including those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. their names are inscribed in the plaque on the c street lobby of the state department. we should always keep them in our thoughts. it is now my pleasure to present ambassador nancy powell, the director-general of the foreign service. nancy? [applause] >> good morning to a thank you, susan, for the interrogation -- introduction, and all of those who were part of this ordeal. just as most americans can tell you where they were when
president kennedy was shot or when the twin towers came down on a 9/11, i think every diplomat of a certain age recalls what they were doing when our colleagues were taken hostage. the initial pictures of people being led from the chancellery in blindfolds are secured in our memories and the we did not know at the time how long or how painful the hostage ordeal would be, we instantly recognized that our world and our profession would be forever changed. the perception was born out just weeks later when rioters burned our embassy in pakistan and our colleagues throughout nea were evacuated. many in the world as the 9/11 attacks has viewed it profoundly less safe. i take the diplomats in 1977, 1979 felt the same way but there were important lessons from this
experience. yes, the world can be a frightening place and threats we face then and now are very real. but we also know that americans in particular state department employees are resilient. i think everyone in the state department and the foreign service new or knew someone who knew each one of the hostages in iran. for me, it was my first tour who saved me in the econ section elizabeth montanan is here this morning, a very warm welcome to her. we also learned as the situation evolved that these people were not going to let this experience define them. the move done, but their lives remained extremely good colleagues and they went on to do impressive work. i personally can salute the ambassador and michael holland with whom i worked later on in
their dignity, their professionalism, their perseverance along with all of those held hostage they have exemplified what makes our diplomatic corps great. may none of us ever have to endure what they did and may we all draw strength from their faith and courage if the city and indeed overcoming the challenges and dangers of our very unpredictable world. thank you. [applause] >> thank you, ambassador whole. before we begin, i would like to recognize some special guests present here today and also to take this opportunity to convey their regrets and so warm regards secretary bill burns to the hostages. he wasn't able to attend the the
last minute due to a conflict. now i'd like to recognize special guests here. kevin o'shea from the canadian embassy, former hostages -- [applause] former hostages who are in attendance today as well as robert anders -- [applause] robert was one of the diplomats saved by our canadian colleagues. i would now like to invite our panel participants to take their seats on the stage. these five diplomats and all of their colleagues were awarded the department award for valor for their courage and sacrifice and i will now introduce them one by one. ambassador bruce laingen.
and finally, in b.c. chief foreign affairs correspondent, andrea mitchell, who will moderate the program. and we are very grateful to andrea. [applause] >> thank you for joining us today and i am now going to trim the program over to andrea. >> thank you so very much. i can't tell you what a privilege it is for me to be here with so many friends and colleagues, and to be here really to honor service, to honor our diplomats, our foreign service officers, their families. this experience 30 years ago was my first experience of a new correspondent at nbc news, and so i feel that i know all of you. i have met all of you since, but i feel that i learned so much about you while you were
suffering in captivity and is a thrill to be here and to use this as a moment to honor our ongoing the surface of rubber diplomats especially on a day when we are hearing a dreadful reports out of cairo. it is simply another reminder that you are all on the front line serving quietly and effectively in posts and around the world, not heralded often come under appreciate it. many of us feel. and to honor all of you by recalling of the horrible events. the july of 30 years ago but these ads that preceded it. i would like to start with bruce laingen, a senior diplomat, the day and who was in charge on the day and i ask you to recall what happened in the prospective taking over as the hostage which
forever changed our relations up to this very day with the government of tehran. >> thank you come andrea. can you hear me? >> they can indeed. one person wasn't mentioned i think in the introduction and that is that a young marine a sitting there in the left. >> they got him. >> major kertly. >> is he the only marine today? marines never retire but -- [laughter] i mentioned him particularly because the security council elides yet his marine corps the surface are special and he was special ads for all of my marine and colleagues said that time and i want you to get a round of applause to the marine corps of
the united states. [applause] >> major, do you want to stand. [applause] i think my colleagues will remember him, she was a young squirt 19 years of age or something and now he is a retired major and we are very proud of him, all of us are. >> you asked me to say something about what happened? [laughter] something happened and got us into trouble. >> if you can recount from your experience trust the emotions and defense. i know that you were held separately than the others. >> it wasn't supposed to happen that way. but i have a longstanding commitment to the foreign
ministry of islamic, it wasn't the islamic republic yet, but the republic of iran, to go to the foreign ministry and talk and ayman meeting arranged very carefully several days before hand with representatives of the foreign ministry to talk about all things the future diplomatic status of my liaison office. that was our agenda that morning and that's what we had that morning. beah completed the agenda and then in the process of completing that we got into trouble. some came to us by one of our security officers and things were happening on the other side of town but the foreign ministry wasn't being overrun, the american embassy was being overrun and that pose a problem and we had to do something.
my first instinct was to seek the foreign minister of iran at that plant only to find him in all places of cultures that morning on his way home from the 25th anniversary celebration of the islamic regime he got there and my deputy wasn't here this morning but was with us the other day. >> at west point. >> and he and tom were trying to make sure we got the help that we deserve under all traditions of the diplomatic history regime
obligated to provide the assistance we needed to protect us because that is their job only to find that they were helpless at that point themselves and we spent the rest of the day, i did come together with victor and mike hollen, the other officer, trying to find the help we were obligated the and we should have had from the regime of the international law, and of course they didn't do it, couldn't do it. by the end of day the relative power and we were all hostages together with my colleagues on the other side of town i was called on the foreign ministry and that's what we have done the balance of the time [inaudible] confinement etc. the rest of the
time. >> now, alan cleaver the predecessor of the diplomatic security on the front lines longer than the marine guards. tell us about the actual event, and i know that there were several times where things got very profit indeed. twice there were mock executions, wanted to ask you a and barry in the john about that. >> if i could back up for a moment on what burrows was talking about and the reason i am doing this is it was 30 years since and people today can all imagine what happened to us, how could that have happened? after all, there was the alamo in the united states. how could this possibly happen to this magnificent in the seacoast town to what of that time was turned as a bunch of students and it went beyond that
it on won't be labour the point. suffice it to say that is the way we did things at that time whether it was in tehran, beirut, other places we were very dependent on the terms of the vienna convention and how come to our rescue as it did earlier than some of you may remember the embassy was overrun earlier that year. so basically, to not go into the gory details of it, but to say that what we were trying to do is buy time and the calgary would arrive as they did on tiberi 14th. we would get to leave to take the persian rugs with us and those things we have accumulated, but our assignments would be curtailed and off we
would go to some other at the center unfortunately as we all know it didn't turn out that way. i would be remiss in not calling get attention as bruce did to the marines. their performance that day was unbelievable, absolutely unbelievable. what they did, perhaps another way of saying it is with the didn't do went against every bit of trading that they had received -- >> how many marines were there? >> we only had lain, total to touch the 14. i should say we had a total detachment of 14, and as you said that i can picture running down the stairs and one of the marines holding them out 60 people at bay with a ride shotgun what is called in a 70 p for those that want to be technical and the fact that he
didn't shoot was unbelievable and i saw him at west palm the other day and to this day i remain incredibly proud of him it would've been a bit easier for him to shoot. >> let me follow-up on that. >> barry rosen. weigel to move the microphone over, barry. >> in 1998i was in paris and i met with one of the strategists in the takeover of the embassy and that was an attempt by the regime to start some sort of ping-pong diplomacy and he actually told me that initial strategy was he wanted the marines to shoot and kill one of the students -- >> which would have given him the predicate. >> the predicate to kill us to actually kill us and there's no doubt about it, but there is one other point i think is a very ironic and i think bruce and all
of us know that for many months we were held almost prisoner by a committee of sorts run by a butcher who has his own control over the embassy, and i presume that if he were still. we didn't negotiate him out with the position of government if he might have stopped this leader from coming over the world and, you know, for me that was the great irony of the whole situation. >> i feed not, barry. [laughter] because it was my job when i was sent out there to get rid of him as bruce knows. >> he was our son. >> it's very important what we faced that day by colleagues who were there i sure will share the sentiment is not the worst thing that we faced if corporate.
we have been subject to a rocket and grenade attack and we had our own president. they wear a great sport and firing at the marines as they came to work and our marines fought okay this is part of our trading faugh -- treating but we can be quite as it now. but it was a different situation. thankfully, i think the foreign service has matured and i would hope and i understand we probably would not put our people in that kind of jeopardy, not to say not in jeopardy, but i think that we would not lead them out there as we were. >> i'm not sure how much any of us really focus on until that happens more cairo and we have compliments of diplomats and
posts for of egypt and throughout the region and other places in yemen where they receive the kutz using the same jeopardy presumably of what we all know is in the intervening decades security provisions have changed dramatically and we know after 1998 that in fact our indices are set back and carted to the extent it does interfere with a lot of what many of you have always experience has healthy and important interactions with the public's of the countries in which your hosted. dhaka about some of the worst times there were moments of the executions that you and i have discussed before. >> the memories of that time for me, someone mentioned about
maturing to the memories are very vivid. we had a problem with this morning is finding my car keys. [laughter] some of you may be able to identify with that. >> no, we are not as a service things we can talk about, things have changed and they have and we do a lot of things much better than we did the one thing we have great difficulty doing is thinking the unthinkable. if i or one of us up here had predicted the course of the revolution accurately or if we had said we are going to be taken over and held for 14 months we would have been met at -- metavacked probably justifiably so. this started out -- i.t. we looked -- many of us looked at it as again be i am dating myself but as a 1970's style.
some of us remember those days. we marched into the university president's office, and drank his scotch, rifled his files, smoked his cigar scum issued a brief communique and marched out. >> [inaudible] [laughter] >> for those that didn't hear, al asked how he got his clearance. [laughter] >> friends in high places. [laughter] and that's what it appeared we were -- that is how it appeared we were dealing with. one of the things we did, i know that bruce and others in the ministry were working hard to get those people to do their responsibilities, and from the embassy we call everywhere we do , i call the foreign ministry as well. i got a sick tree on july and before i could get about, just
as i identified myself as the american embassy, and here's what she said, she said the american embassy, wonderful to hear from you. you know the passports we sent over for visas, are they ready yet? [laughter] all i could say is if you don't do something about this you will never see them. [laughter] if she is in the rule i apologize. i don't know if she's here but it started -- this is the way it started off and according -- i don't know if this is true but according to abbas and others, that's the way they looked at it also. they were going to march in coming to this briefing, make a statement and marched out. and it turned into of course this huge international international event and crisis which brought down an american president among other things.
so all we could say was this can't go on. somebody, some adult is going to get in the middle and we will set things right, but i personally, my wake up moment came about two months into this when i got a care package from home a of my family had sent me some things including some books to read and the books were things like war and peace. [laughter] middlemarch, you know, average length about 1300 pages. and i said somebody's trying to tell me something. they are trying to get me -- they are trying to say read these books because you're going to be there for awhile. ..
if you're going to make this decision, get us out of here. >> and washington advises us? >> absolutely, 100%. and also, president carter mentioned in one of his books, when he asked members of the security council what will happen if they are taken hostage. no one answered. there was no reason for us to be there anymore.
i was in the february 14th event whether taking over for one day that we were almost murdered by the fed. immediately we were taken out in the discussion was whether we should go back again. and i honestly feel that the decision should have been made in washington to get us out as soon as the shot got in. and that i think would have been something to show the iranians are okay, when you're ready, you can call us back and ask us to come back in, but right now are not going to do it. and i was never disputed by the state department. >> john cooke, your 26 years old could connect 25. this would emphasize that i'm that old. [laughter] >> let you correct the record. tell me about as a young officer at the time, the experience and what happened when you came out. because we are celebrating the
release 30 years ago when i could only imagine your your linking that stewart air force base, on your way to west point and having no idea of how important you were to americans for the entire 14 month period. >> this is an important point. on the very first day, one of them to start talking about when you're in an experience like this is when are you going home and you start speculating on what the possibilities are and maybe you creates an artificial deadlines. will surely the hottest home by christmas, et cetera. people who are familiar with the korean workers on a number of years in a row. you must be realistically how long his goodbyes to my response to that person, even as the demonstrators were outside was strewn over the pueblo. the pueblo was an american patrol boat was named us off the
coast of korea, which was also captured during an election year. and the election-year cycle just freezes the ability of people to do things. the people on the quote below were released after the election, but before the exaggeration. and i was telling a person were in an election year, so this is the potential. to go beyond that, the iranians were being advised by -- i believe palestinians to make a very free out when i suggested the possibility existed. and their advisers had told them that you don't want to tell the captive any of the circumstances of the international news or national news related to their position because you don't want them to know what's going on and perhaps act in a way that you don't want them to. and so, they kept all information away from us about what was going on except they
would tell us occasionally that, you know, this is a big thing in the united states and on the news every night, the commentary -- the new captures start out with this since day 132 of the hostage crisis in iran and we frankly didn't believe them. you know, what again, the reaction was around the pueblo. there was some news when they were first taken, some news when propaganda photographs came out and there was some news when they were released, but there were certainly not a national uprising or a national focus on getting the people on the pueblo freed. and so, that is a big difference in the real surprise. and obviously a pleasant surprise for us to know that really everybody in the united days really cared. and i'd like to go back. it's a different time. it is 30 years later and something that john limber was reminding us of. i think that that historians
have missed the real significance of the hostage crisis. and that is that it represented the end of the vietnam war. for a long period of time, it's easy to be embarrassed to be an american. it was easy to accept the criticism that the u.s. and the soviet union were really the same in these sorts of things. and this was finally such an outrageous act against the united states. we really were in iran to try to help the new government. we have really helped facilitate the change in power there. we have not gone in and try to prop up the state tater. in the outcome even in response to that, our embassy was taken. and this was a chance for americans to say no, we really are something different. we really are not what our enemies declare that we are. and i think that's the real significance of the hostagetaking and i really do
find it really brought about a change in american attitudes about ourselves than it is something that i'm really very proud of. and also, it affected the way we treat the current conflicts that were in. we may not agree about what's going on in iraq or afghanistan. people can certainly disagree about the policy, but there's absolutely total unanimous agreement they were going to support our troops and we're going to support men and women of the foreign service and other civilian agents is working in both countries. very, very different from the vietnam war. >> i think we forgot to say pay tribute to our spouses and families who work tirelessly. the family liaison action group and all of our families who were with and sometimes against the state department and maybe the state department or against some
of the things that are spouses want to do. and i really want to pay tribute to pending and all the rest of the members here. [applause] >> thank you, sam. [applause] 's >> we should say that we're all wearing hello within and it's become -- it's iconic. it's a part of american culture now. but as bruce reminded me last week when we had a conversation on my program that before this experience, there were no yellow ribbons. there were no written. bourbons have now become a mark that we just let the state of state of being in the black and white ribbon paying tribute to the hair name attribute in tucson. of course the pink ribbon that
aids and the bourbons for breast cancer, could reduce co2 in the front yard in the beginning of the yellow ribbon, which was more than just a symbol. it really became a rallying cry around america in your absence. >> and it's still not today. breast cancer, pink ribbons and what you just mentioned relating to the tragedy in arizona. i want to mention in this context -- were supposed to be heroes. that's the way we are seen. all of us sitting here would always say the real heroes are our families back home. they were the ones that were the hardest against unknown circumstances. they were frustrated and didn't know what they were supposed to do and they weren't as cooperative as they take to be.
but they went on a day late and i salute all of those who did not. i wanted to add one thing wallace got the floor. you all have this or you have a lot of names, including those who were released earlier. and i suspect there are some in the audience who were released within three weeks. those were horrendous three weeks. they were abused all of the time. any group in the audience today -- if there is, please raise your hands. lillian johnson isn't here? >> no, she's one of our real heroes of you would know over here. but i salute them for what they try to do at that time and gave so much of their time and life in those 13 days. the other person i want -- person and people i want to salute the fat lady sitting over there in the yellows or whatever that is.
[laughter] well, it's a jacket. the real hero of this crisis, of that crisis as they are the ones who came forward as psychiatrists. and that lady over there is my favorite psychiatrists. why don't you stand out? [applause] >> i want to salute dr. roberts because she came to very close and dear friend of my parents and really hope and support them while they were in circumstances as rick points out how more great finesse. the families were being torn apart. either going to be released? dr. roberts and the other part of the state department and medical team really worked hard to see the families. >> you transitioned through as
americans do from points of conflict and you came back. the united states had just gone through this transition of political transition. you were released moments the swearing-in their money. and we had our lives, but from your good, john, maybe i'll ask you. but with the experience of landing and the interception for your client >> well, again, most of us they think were clueless about what it happened back here. john, you mentioned -- you mentioned that and how there is -- this incident had changed things in the state and where it
stood in the news cycle. so i can say from my own experience, this started early on, when demand frankford at 6:00 in the morning in january, dark, cold, snowy. it would pull up the terminal and there are hundreds of people out side, waiting for something and shouting and holding signs. i turn to somebody and i send my gosh, what is happening? somebody important islandia near? and then it just sort of snowballed from there. and then getting back to west point and delis personally i think i was in a bit of a fog. and as we were bribing those buses and thousands of people were there, my wife gets a wave to them, wave to them. their expect in that.
we had no idea appeared in the series at bank one of the strong points of the foreign service in general. you always come back to land. you always come back to reality. okay, you know, we were at the white house. we were on cnn, which had just started -- i'm sorry to mention a rival network. >> the fact is we were just discussing before we came out here, this was a transformative also in media terms. this is the beginning of "nightline" with ted koppel and abc, the beginning of cable news. and i was describing to my colleagues here that when i first started as an nbc correspondent, as the junior, junior person back then, my job because we didn't have 24/7 cable news was to spend the
night on a couch in the newsroom in case you out of released. so in particular -- >> he spent a lot of time and not. >> so i was flipping the remote by remote -- live in a strange kind of existing, comfortable existence i should add. but on holidays in particular, you mentioned the possibility of being released on christmas time. i was assigned to be the state department for every major holiday overnight thursday in cubicles. diane sawyer was my counterpart, and other news correspondent vince pbs in those days. we just stayed up all night, you know, chatting and sharing stories on christmas night of christmas eve, just in case something were to have been. so there was no 24/7 committee know, free internet. and it's hard to explain to people what it was like then. >> but all this, as i said, all
of this 15 minutes of fame is over and having been to the white house come having been hearing her within a week or so, yours panting out in the cold in washington waiting for a bus. but i really knew i was home when i encountered the personal system of the state department. [applause] and then nancy, one of your predecessors would've said something like, you know, i wanted to ask about other defendants. they say they really really stood a very bad time. [laughter] >> reminds me of one of the couple of signs along the road from anders that day coming into
washington. many of the science told us things we didn't really appreciate, particularly one that said the irs welcomes you home. [laughter] >> angie, to actually emphasize how isolated we were in really this whole thing came to us as enemies and situation. for example, there's an anecdote i like to talk about. we spent two months in one place outside of this behind the black hole. and with the immediate gave us, basically to read was the "washington post" classified boats section. [laughter] but they've come since he's a wonderful voter, he actually put us on the chesapeake every afternoon. i bite down and he would take trips on the chesapeake day in and day out. but that's why we really didn't know anything. in fact the whole issue of the
attempted rest do, which is a horrible situation, we can learn until three months after. it was in a bathroom that we use, that they had a camera there and i was able to abscond with the newspaper and in the newspaper i brought it back in the file and there i read about the attempted rescue and that was three months later. >> let me ask you, there are 1100 -- approximately 1100 foreign service officers now in unaccompanied posts. obviously places that are considered too dangerous to have families. are they better protect it now? that's one part of the question. they obviously are better protect it. but they will enough protect good and to all of you, how does that interfere with your ability to perform the role of peter diplomat quite >> well, let me say, i would be
reluctant to give it a great, but i would feel very safe in saying that they are better protected today than they would've been 30 years ago. i mean, our eyes have been opened. i'm reminded of very delicate balance that exists between conducting our mission, the foreign service's mission the department mission and for those within the department that are charged with providing the security so that mission can be accomplished. and all of you know we are often butting heads on the issue. but everybody is trying to accomplish the same mission. you're making a wonderful point. we went through 30 years ago seemed so unique and today the potential exists, just about everywhere in the world. for those foreign service officers that are out there on the front lines, we wish you
well. >> i'd say it's a slightly better position to answer this. i came back last february from one year reconstruction team and karbala province. >> those teams are doing -- are taking over as we turned mission under the state force agreement. it is going to be a largely civilian ventures supposedly and that's of course the endgame in afghanistan as well down the road. >> when i was in tehran, there was very little tracking of what is frankly a response bold junior through was through in. through they just told me to sit in the back and if someone asked you where you're from, answer in farsi because you have a kind of a hunter on the accent.
[laughter] and we went to the caspian coast with a group of people, but in karbala robinson iraq and their missions in iraq, a foreign service officer doesn't get out the door without the armored vehicles and eight i be carried. and so in my case, it was for humvees and eight army soldiers. so it has changed. it does make them for little difficult. it does have an effect on how you're perceived when you come with this very heavy armed presence. but i think in balance is probably better that we protect our people the way we do now dimly that the way we had in the past, where people were pretty much on their own in the labs you frankly irresponsible things. >> now, but they sometimes or questions. i'm not sure where the microphones are for that we can all be heard, but let's see, yes, right here.
[inaudible] >> -- was very genetic for you personally and your family. we know you had a mutual pact on company politics. what they are good ended up becoming a very pilot deal for the waiting people as well. i was wondering if you could comment on this is that and how you see that. the >> question -- sorry, i see now that there are microphones at the foot of both of those steps. people want to go there for a can questions. but the question was about the effect on the iranian people, given what has happened in the decade since, but it is certainly not a takeover and the rapture of the relations. >> i think that one important type your is that by the takeover of the u.s. embassy, those who were leading the
islamic republic eventually saw that they were able to destroy not only in a relationship with the united states, but also the politically aware groups within iran and so they would have no opposition. all the cable traffic we had with people who were beating us were eventually caught up in this whole thing, so that the opposition to the regime already was destroyed and emboldened the republic made it stronger. >> let me also ask you just to follow up on what you anticipate in cairo given what we know about from a heartbeat. we know today many of you have been where we saw it denies has been a major crack down of cutting off internet access and social media we don't know about
arrests and other aftereffects. >> i'm glad you asked that question. of course you have radio as i.d., the persian surveys. and i have made good on any interview, whether it be awake person from the bbc persian, and radio file path, whatever, i make exactly that point. and many iranians have often, for example, colvin says programs instead we apologize for what happened to you. we think it was terrible. they said would happen to us was difficult. it was fate team. it was very uncomfortable, but would have been to real thick and so this thing with the ukrainians who suffered for 30 years and continue to suffer under a very difficult and very harsh regime, which took hours
thanks to those events. the irony of this is some of the individuals, including the one that very mad and others lead in the day woke up to josh woke up to what they had done was wrong with the mistake and became latter-day reformist and advocates of the rule of law, or shall we start a history of chronic. come once in a while they have landed in prison. and i must say, i shouldn't feel this way, but when they do land in prison i get a certain satisfaction out of it. you asked about cairo. and again, there are people here in this room who have to work to get these things, very difficult issues. i'm sure they're here until 9:30, 10:00 every night, sorting through what's going on.
but if there is any lesson out of tehran, one might be to approach these things very carefully because what we discovered in tehran was also the muslim intellectuals were upfront, the real power was held by some very unfriendly and very determined groups with a much more extreme agenda. and these were jokes were frankly capable of anything. the nationalists were like us. they could write brilliant analyses. they could make great speeches. they could figure out a political situation and write articles. but it was the other throw acid in people's faces, who could go
out and beat up a reporter, could burn down an opposite party headquarters. and frankly in a situation of revolution and stability, those are the people who unfortunately come out on top. >> interestingly even now, the mujahedin who seemed to be supported by so many people in the united states are just as evil and they were horrible when i was there, meeting with reporters and editors. they would come in and beat up people and destroyed the offices. and now they are saying they're legitimate opposition. i wouldn't trust them as much as i wouldn't trust the regime to tehran. >> following up on cairo, because your experience in the region and then i want to get to this other question. what about the power structure in cairo? what would you predict, given what is happening in the street
now and the mubarak responds? in that well, i still work for the state department, so i need to be careful about not stepping on the toes who work on the colleague desk. i would point out in tanisha jewett is slightly different situation and that the leadership there was not as closely tied to the military as the mubarak regime is closely tied to the military and leave it for others to speculate where that might go. one thing i would say that was when -- after he came back years later, i served in east asia pacific affairs. after my time in the philippines , paul wolfowitz was the assistant secretary we have a roundtable discussion, the theme of which is, are we making the same mistakes in the filipinas begin in tehran. the moderator led off with the idea. he said if the state department is given three choices, the state department is always going
to choose the. and he did this to annoy him and he he could sort of see the very calm guy. he began clenching his teeth together. and his response was interesting. he says he makes two assumptions. the first assumption is that the middle quarters is wrong and it may very well be that the middle course in these situations is the right way to go. and the second is that it makes the assumption that the middle course is easy and it may very well be the most difficult thing between eight, dnc. the point that made, he agreed with and he was surrounded the defense department and the carter was in tehran the mistake making was not that we're trying to fall of the middle course. it was the were trying to follow ancs simultaneously, try to support while still reaching out to the opposition at a time in the philippines, where people would've thought it would've been ridiculous to sell any kind of riot control gear to the
marcos regime. at the time of the revolution in the demonstration, we are having that exact debate as to whether or not we would sell additional control gear to dish out. i think part of the reaction we got, part of the failure in tehran in part of the success in the philippines was sending tehran, because recent mint and distrust on both sides by trying to follow ancs simultaneously, where the philippines we were seen as honest brokers by supporting what was the legitimate government, but i've lost it and was booed him legitimacy of the democratic competition was for me. >> as i recall, is really attribute the secretary shall and division in what senator lugar and others persuaded the white house to do at the time. gentlemen, sorry.
>> beside gentlemen at the table are all heroes of mine. it turns out that three, the oldest very are old and dear friends of mine. it is also a fact that the benefit and pleasure of playing poker with two of them on more than one occasion. and i would like to take this opportunity to thank john limbert and laingen for their contributions to myself and my family over the years. [applause] [laughter] >> forgive me for not applauding. but i do have two serious question. the tactical question is this. and maybe a party inserted, john. why some of the hostages were treated fairly well and others were tortured, beaten and the objects of mock executions. why did it go down that way? was adjust the instability of the revolution or was it planned or with the look of the draw or
whether? announces strategic question is to be above the current unrest in tunisia and egypt and yemen spread further used and revitalize the green revolution? i like to hear your take some that would. thank you. >> thank you. john? >> well, i'd like to say it's been a pleasure helping your family, but -- no, the first thing you've learned i think as a prisoner is that the situation you are in is the ultimate in unreason and the logic. you will find no reason, no logic in what happens -- and what happens to you. the fact that one person is treated one way, another person is treated another way, you'll never find out.
if you read his stories about the gulag comments very much there. i learned that from experience and also from my cellmate who had been in the army for 30 years and who knew a little bit about -- those little bit about unreason. again, you don't know and after a while you don't ask because these things happen. i mean, they identified some of us as that. there's. they identified others is not under what criteria, you know, i don't know. the other thing about the green revolution -- i'll just say, the events in tunis may have had a huge ipo on the iranian sites. one of the things they came up with, which was really cute was the same in persian. is that tunis tunis, means to
ms. currie, iran couldn't. or it also means tunis is tunis. iran is not tunis in the same way. i mean, they are arguing about it just as much. why does the work in one place and not in another? my 52nd answer is that ben ali had the place to go. the folks in tehran do not. i mean, can you imagine them running away to saudi arabia? i doubt it. >> may i -- let me speak to the treatment issue because it's always been of some controversy and i expect, tom, that's why you asked the question. everybody that was there suffered in their own way. make no mistake. it was sunny picnic for anyone. what john points out is very accurate. very early on they identified all of us come either accurately
or what they would like each of us to be, if it was convenient for them and proceeded from there. and some of the things that they suggested that we as individuals -- i'm going to be very careful here to speak for myself. each of us needs to speak for themselves. one thing that was common when they identified something they thought would be be particularly useful to their cause -- and they actually said this then you've heard this elsewhere in movies or whatever, but we have discovered this about you. one of the things they discovered about the recent counterfeit bills that we recovered and we were hoping the secret service with. and they decided that icicle had he was going to undermine the iranian economy. so -- >> they're doing a very good job of that themselves. >> the reward for that was i was going to get a fair trial on
that one sentence. make no mistake. some people suffer just horrible, horrible deprivation. we all suffer deprivation. some were worse. but everyone suffered in their own way. there was bad treat flat out. the result is, answer but the body. this was not a matter time in solitude alone, which is painful and another of your but i would like to be clear about that and i said that that was something that she wanted clarified. >> and then we're going to have to conclude. >> let me just add that being in prison or 144 days, as they were treated well or badly as to render this in no matter how you look at it, we were in prison and treated badly, even if we were not tortured.
it should be in there for 444 days in darkness and isolation. that's enough for anyone. >> well, i want to thank all of our participants, colleagues, heroes, witnesses and survivors of one of the most extraordinary events in american his three as well as diplomatic history. and also surveyed again a reminder that we have men and women and their families, serving around the world in iraq and afghanistan, cairo, tunis, and yemen and other parts around the world. and they are in the front line every day which is neat to do all that we can to understand and support and engage and make sure that we are all aware and that the american public is aware of everything they're doing. i want to thank you for this
opportunity to relive and perhaps put in context. the mac i think in that context, susan jones come away she quite >> red appear. >> ratepayer. she's trying to get rid of this. susan johnson -- who else is here from a? >> in houston, ratepayer. the executive director has been heroic, both here and what he is made possible. all the sleep you again. i'm also assistant secretary of state, direct your -- is sheer? >> shaye diddley because she had an 11:00 speaking engagement. >> i cannot let the event pass without saluting our neighbors to the north, canada. we are a fortunate country and having a neighbor like that.
[applause] for reasons that each and everyone of you can probably give us stories about how canada has held. but five of our colleagues in tehran -- six of them, if gates out the back gate of the embassy when the embassy was being overrun. and then there they were the middle of tehran. not quite sure where they were going. looking for refuge wherever they could find it, eventually finding refuge in the president is of the ambassador to canada at that time, ambassador of canada at that time and his deputy, who said as soon as they heard from our wanderings six, where the have you been?
why didn't you come sooner? you are very welcome here. this book has the story of the canadian keeper. >> can carry the cia and the iran hostage crisis by robert wright. >> is a representative here today if he would stand and salute us, please. there he is. [applause] those canadians at that time gave refuge to our six and eventually they were out secretly with their intelligence agencies and ours this marvelous plan that falls down to slip out of town safely, requiring them to close their embassies of the sacrifice all of their interest across the board in iran at that time because they care that much
about six and i salute them. [applause] >> well, thank you all for coming. the american foreign service process nation would also like to think nea and the director general who else but a few moments ago for their cooperation and assistance in organizing this event. in most of all, i'd like to thank you, andrea, our panelists and the other hostages and people directly involved in the audience for participating and sharing your stories today. and finally, i'd just like to express personal hope that these yellow ribbons that you all have fun in that we have unfettered associated with this will come to signify and mean support for diplomacy and support for our diplomats. so thank you love very much. [applause]
>> you don't mention scott mcclellan who was the longest-serving press secretary. who went out and then wrote a book that was somewhat critical. why not? >> because he was a not a major decision. this is a book about decisions. this is not a book about personalities or gaza or settling scores. and i didn't think he was relegated. >> see the entire interview sunday night at 8:00 east and pick on c-span's q&a.
>> on today's "washington journal" detector nyu professor paul weitz about the president said at the union address and the pledge to produce the size of the federal government. this is 40 minutes. ightnd are looking not dr. paul tight and the town manhattan. er dr. light is at new york university where he teaches public service and its expertise wo workforce.l nice to see you again. thanks for being here. >> nice to see you.st: >> let me stay with having an understanding of the actual size of the federal workforce. d numrthe course of the past years doing research and thought a number of different statistics. what is your best estimate of rkersany federal wo therers t today? dealing with estimates first of all. the contractor community will not tell us. they consider the number of
workers to be proprietary information. every time we rolled out an estimate, they criticize it. i always say what is your estimate and they say they will not release that. i think that we might have 7 million or 8 million contractors that work for the federal government. twothirds of which deliver services. everything from computer program to is the analysis and consulting and all the way down the hierarchy to security panda serving food in the federal cafeteria. we have a very large work force. we have another 3 million parent folks that get their paychecks in part from the federal government under grants. those are highway construction grants, which treatment facilities, construction grants, research at universities and so on. so let's put it at 10 million their perilous at the federal civil service about 2 million
or 2.1 million. and add the military and now that 14 million. if you really want to go bare, throw in the number of state and local employees that work for the federal government under un- funded mandates. we don't know how many there are, let's say that its 40 million or excuse me 4 million. now it's getting pretty large, almost as large as the manufacturing sector. federal employees are the tip of the iceberg. we don't talk much about freezing and reducing number of contractors. we cannot live without them. host: we will stay with that 14 number. you have statistics on how the federal work force has grown since 1999 when it was 11 million. that number is wrong on the bottom. 4.4 million contractors is correct.
and 5.1 million contractors in 2002. those numbers keep going up. why do they keep going up? guest: because we keep buying labor from the private sector. we don't like to increase the number of federal employees, because it looks bad, looks back to the american public. instead of increasing the number of civil service employees -- that has gone up under obama by 300,000, but its increase of lots under bush because there was heavy spending on defense and national security after 9/11. we bought a lot of stuff for the iraq war, build military bases that were exclusive. the procurement budget in washington has been going up and that's where you get the purchase of labor. two kurds of their procurement budget is for services, that means it is almost entirely labor. that is where these numbers really rise. host: let's involve the phone lines in the discussion about the size of the federal work
force and what you as citizens think is appropriate. are you getting too much services from the federal government and are there too many people employed in the public workforce as opposed to the private sector? the phone numbers are on the screen. in this segment we have already -- also added a line for federal workers. we will put that on the screen because we would like to hear your perspective from inside the federal bureaucracy as well. if we can put that on their id iair. we will get that on there as our conversation progresses, federal workers will have an opportunity to join us. let's get to some video. president obama in his state of the union on tuesday. >> we live and do business in
the information age, but the last major reorganization of the government happened in the age of black-and-white tv. there are 12 different agencies that deal with exports. there are at least five different agencies that deal with housing policy. then there is my favorite example. the interior department is in charge of families when they are in fresh water, but the commerce department handles them when they are in -- of salmon when they are in fresh water, but the commerce department handles them when they are in salt water. i understand it if the department handles them when they are smoked. [laughter and applause] we have made great strides in the last two years in using technology and getting rid of waste. veterans can download their
electronic medical records with a click of the mouse. we're selling acres of office space that has not been used in years, and we will cut through red tape to get rid of more. but we need to think bigger. in the coming months, my administration will develop a proposal to merge, consolidate, and reorganize the federal government in a way that best serves the goal of a more competitive america. host: before you answer, i would like to play an earlier clip, 1999, vice-president al gore. >> reinvention and reform is not a way to scale back our ambition or tighten our belts for its own sake of this sacrifice for a first principle. it is in fact a recognition of this fundamental truth, that we cannot chase our highest ideals unless they are grounded in workable, practical, responsible self-governance. we need governments that are as
flexible, as dynamic, as focused on serving their customers as the best private companies around the world. we need to adopt the very best management techniques from the private sector to create governments that are fully prepared for the challenges of the information age. host: the point being that administrations for many a decade have been talking about reorganizing, restructuring the federal government. yet the numbers we showed show that the numbers keep going up. what is the challenge here? guest: you know, al gore was right. george w. bush made an effort. richard nixon did. lyndon johnson did. every president in his office promises a better government, but it is quite hard to do. i was delighted that president obama mentioned reorganization the other night. great. about time he stepped into the conversation.
but let's be serious about what a real overhaul of the federal government would mean. he talks about a real overhaul dating back to the 1950's, since the last one. my dad was an auto parts dealer. i have a couple of friends whose parents were in auto parts. when somebody comes in for an overhaul, they're not talking about changing the spark plugs. they're talking about pulling the engine and doing a top-to- bottom job. the president is right to look at consolidation and overlap, but he has to expexpand the agenda. getting to some of the principles al gore listed, and getting to them hard through change. if he does not stepped up with his own big plan, the house republicans will be doing it, and that will be a lot more damaging to how well government works. host: let's go to florida. net, on the republican line. caller: i would like to make a
comment about employees and salaries. the federal employees have ballooned up in terms of numbers. , federal employees get about 60% more than the private sector. that is ridiculous. the private sector should be higher than the public employees. california, we are in trouble because of the fact that the federal employees, unions, and so on and so forth, are much more paid highly and their health care insurance is very high and expenses. so that is why they are in budgetary trouble now. host: dr. light, the caller is referring to examples we have all heard.
statistics across the united states, how do public-sector salaries compared to private sector? guest: you have to be careful about the rule of averages. republicans have been saying the feds are more highly paid on average than the private sector. that may be true, but there is a distribution in there. the feds are at the high-end with senior managers. but it turns out they are underpaid compared to the private sector. said that the middle and the bottom, there is a lot of variation in salary structure. people who are in favor of the current salary structure will tell you federal employees are more educated, more seasons, which is code word for older. -- more seasoned, which is code word for older. honestly, its a difficult comparison to make, and we have not been doing a good job of
doing it. president obama opposed a salary freeze, republicans in the house have sniffed out the problem there. he did not impose a freeze on automatic pay increases due to time on the job. that has got to be part of it, i am afraid. president obama will have to get on that as part of his reorganization plan. host: omaha, good morning. june, you are on the air with dr. light. caller: i am making $7.25 and can barely make it, and the post office people in omaha, nebraska, are making a lot more money. they get all these holidays off, paid, overtime for the weekends. they work as many hours as they can, but i would say that is the first place to start cutting down and freezing their pay. talk a little about the whole federal work force,
not just about federal employees. let's talk about contractor employees and throw the grantees into the mix. if we are going to talk about downsizing, we have to include the hidden workforce. i think if we did a job-to-job comparison between federal employees and contractors, we would find the contractors are spending a lot more on labor than the federal government. that is not to dismiss your concern in omaha about the difference between how much federal employees are making, and i think federal employees have to make a sacrifice right now. president obama made that point. you just cannot be raising salaries every year and allowing automatic pay increases due to time on the job during this period. federal employees have to sacrifice. contractors have to sacrifice. so do grantees. let's put it all on the table
and impose a real hard freeze on federal salary increases, but let's include the whole work force, not just the one we can say. host: are the postal service considered federal employees? guest: they are quasis. the postal service is a quasi- government organization that is supposed to run like a business. theoretically it is supposed to make a profit like amtrak. but it has one huge deficit. why? well, the post office, unlike federal express and ups, they have to deliver everywhere. they have no choice but to take the mail out to the rural post office, the rural post box. fedex does not go certain places. they get to pick and choose their certain destinations. most of their activity goes to major urban areas.
part of the problem with the postal service is that it was built to serve every last american. i think we want them to do so, and they are running a huge deficit right now. we will have to do something to fix that agency. it has been downsizing for years, which is a good thing, but it still has a long way to go. they are talking about eliminating saturday delivery. it is a good question that your caller raises, and we have to do something about the post office. has gotman darrell eisissa that on his agenda and we have to do something about it. host: our next caller is a federal worker in huntington, virginia. good morning. caller: you just addressed my specific job. i am a rural mail carrier in virginia.
when i had to step chains on my vehicle, and go past areas with no guard rails where i could lose my life literally if i make move -- i wish everyone was talking about salary cuts -- everyone who was talking about salary cuts would remember this. i do not remember anyone in congress talking about reducing their earned pay, the earned benefits, and most of them make a generous salary, people who are very wealthy. they pay on their capital gains a lower rate of income tax than i do for the most part. the thing i want to do is, everybody who talks about cutting these salaries is somebody who makes two, three, 10, 20 times the salary of the people who empty the garbage and
carry the mail and make sure that the roads are being built with the sweat of their hands. let's start talking, when we predicate these discussions, with the people at the top taking the hit first as an example since they are the so- called leaders. give me a response, please. guest: first of all, you're one of the reasons that the postal workers are the most popular federal employees there are. they really do get out there. they know their folks they are very popular and you sound like a great guy. i agree with you. on the basic premise. congress has a very good pension system. you are quite right about pay to members of congress. some of them did not need it. some of them actually do returned it, but it is a good point. i will also say that over in the
executive branch we have 3000 senior executives who work for the president', either through or directconfirmation appointment, and we have been trying for decades to reduce that number to maybe 1000. how many senior exist as the president really need? presidents have never liked this. they will swear that every last senior executive they have got is essential, but there is about a 25% vacancy rate. we have seen a bunch of obama appointments leave for investment banks the regulating, for investment houses, for lobbying firms. it is really a bad deal, and we ought to cut the number of senior executives. presidents never talk about it. the cuts are always directed at the bottom of government, not the middle and high levels. we ought to put the middle and high levels on the table and we ought to talk about increasing the number of jobs at the bottom
of government, actually. we are really decimated down there, and one of the reasons we are having trouble in places like the food safety system with the recall is that we do not have enough inspectors. let's move some of these jobs down to the bottom where the real goods and services get delivered. host: "the washington post" has a story on this topic today. by karen tumulty and and o'keefe.- and ed here is what they write.
jocall last summer president ob' , something, every salmon -- pacific, atlantic, salt water, fresh water, swims to capitol hill. those programs start on capitol hill. the duplication and overlap comes from capitol hill. every salmon in the world seems to have a mom or dad on capitol hill. it would be shocking, but possible, that they all have names and are protected by district. so this start on capitol hill. you do not rationalize the committee structure, you are getting nowhere. i am telling you, consolidation and duplication -- that is one heavy, difficult list. we try it, we try it. homeland security is a good example of where it has not worked very well. it is going to be a slog unless obama ties that thing up in a big package of reforms.
they get a little labor union buy-in, republican buy-in. we will not see much consolidation come out of this. it will be very difficult. i love him for trying, but he needs to think bigger than consolidation and duplication if he is going to get this thing done. he has got that opportunity right now. he just needs to take advantage of it. host: both the president and the republican majority of the house were talking about cutting the size of government, the real size of government, and the challenges of reorganizing it. fayetteville, north carolina. battery, on the republican line, you're up next. asbury, on the republican line, you're up next. caller: personally when i have said that i do not like is the manipulation of the people simply to enrich the top 2%.
money itself, if you take money, you cannot eat and wear them. you can use money to the point where they inflate them or whatever. but the point is, they control the banks. it is nothing more than a separation between me and what i need to live, so i'm watching all these plants grow, all these people working, growing our food, having efficient housing and everything else. instead, we are following money instead of the actual thing we need to keep us alive. i just do not see this human experiment following money instead of following the resources. you take tarp. they should have went ahead and pay off all those people's loans off, and that way the bank could have gotten their money and the people could have gotten their houses. but every decision we have done
has been to manipulate everything, to take out all the resources and put them back into those people's hands that are connected. it is like we just played your monopoly game and it is like, what is the point of even playing games with you anymore? host: we go to eagle rock, missouri. june, a democrat. caller: i have one question. if everybody took, everybody that gets a government check, would take a 1% cut in their check, how much would that help the budget? i'm on social security, and i'm willing to pay for 1%. that is all i live on. but i'm willing to take 1% cut if they would take a 1% cut for
everyone drawing a government paycheck. host: dr. light? guest: the social security and medicare, a huge part of the federal budget. i do not like the idea of cutting 1% from those programs. people put in, they need to take out. the way to get to those costs is through bending the health cost curve. i'm not an expert in it. what i would like to see as a starter is a more aggressive overhaul of the federal government. that would send a message to the american public that we mean business about a lean government that can deliver on the promises we make. we have 1000 social security problems as the baby boomers begin to retire. we have to work on that. in the first year since the program began, we're spending more on social security than we are collecting taxes. that is a big problem. by 2037 we will have depleted
the entire savings account, the trust fund that we built up over the years. at that point we will be talking about laying this on our children, laying this on our grandchildren. it is not right. we will have to fix it, but we cannot do it overnight, and i do not think it is fair to ask americans who are dependent on social security to take that cut. i do not think that is right. but, you know, that is not my area of expertise. i have followed social security over the years. we have got a big problem there and we will not fix it with a one time, 1% cut. we'll have to raise the retirement age and deal with some of the tax and benefit issues, but that cannot be placed on current retirees.
host: shirley, a retired government employee, you're on the air. caller: i met one of the field officers here in baltimore, maryland, and i am working in a field office on a program that if i had not come back to work, this program would not have been able to have been worked on because they did not have enough employees to do it. the field offices to the retirement, disability claims, medicare, the need-based programs, after pay problems, and there are not enough employees in the offices to do the work. if anybody has ever come in an office and visited and see the number of people outside the door waiting to get in to be seen, the workers are interviewing all day. when do they get time to do the best work? when do they have time to process these claims? social security field offices is one of the offices of the french
government, and i hope that they do not downsize because if they do, it is really going to be a problem. -- of the federal government, and i hope that they do not downsize because if they do, it is really going to be a problem. host: is a different that when you were in the final government? caller: yes, it was cut in half. host: why did you take it? and guest: the only reason why they took me out is they said what can you do with that would benefit us? well, the program i'm working on is what i worked on when i was working at social security. so if i had said i do not know how to do anything except file folders, i am sure they would not have taken me. guest: in a very academic word, this is nuts. we do not have enough workers on the front lines of the federal
government. the backlogs are growing in many agencies -- social security, the amount of time it takes to get a disability education at the veterans administration. what was interesting and ironic about the president of speech, he said veterans can click on their health care records and csee them electronically. but it goes to paper. it goes to big old files that get passed around like they were 30, 50 years ago. we have not made much improvement on that. when you talk to the fed's about what they need to do their jobs well, they talked about double sided copying. what is that about? at the end of the day, we do not have enough people on the front lines to deliver services. there at the middle, at the top, in the contractor community. the american public knows that
we are having one break down after another that its headline news. we have to redistribute capacity of the federal government down toward the bottom. that will save money because the upper level jobs are much more expensive than lower-level jobs. i hate to criticize the senior and middle-level managers. they do a good job, important work, but when push comes to shove we need the workers on the front line. they manufactured goods and services that americans depend on. i think the obama administration, house republicans, democrats as well, need to take that up. what they're talking about now is freezing hiring. you know who that will hit? that will hit the front line of government, where the turnover rates are very, very high, unsustainably so. and if you say we're just not going to fill jobs, we will freeze hiring, you know what happens?
the backlogs increase. the service degrade. -- the service degrades. we have to do much more than what we call a random shooting. we have to be deliberate about this overhaul and we have to be aggressive. that is what is missing from the debate. host: maverick on twitter offers this -- host: for dr. light, no. no, michigan, nick, independent. you're on the air. caller: i was talking about the total compensation. listening to the purpose -- the person working on the post office -- i work for an electric utility company and i'm retired. we are working in all kinds of weather, and we've worry about falling off a road and getting killed. linemen just working with electrical wires. what they told us when it came to total compensation, our
company came to be within 90% of the marketplace. that included hourly pay, fringe benefits, health care, vacation, and retirement. one thing i hear about a government retirement, state and local, is that when they averaged the retirement, their income to calculate their retirement, is a three-year average. most private companies use a five-year average. so the five-year average has a lower income than the three- year. the government companies use the overtime they worked during those three years to be included. i do not know of any private company that includes overtime in a retirement population. the other question i would have is, what copayments to government workers pay for their health care? host: go-ahead, dr. light. he is finished. guest: when we talk about federal pay compared to private
pay, we have to talk about a number of issues, and one is the total compensation package. health care, retirement, vacation benefits and so forth, and do a side-by-side comparison by job, not person in the job. i do not want to get into the details of that one, but we ought to be taking a look at the total, package and being fair about it. just because the feds get a good health care plan does not mean we should cut it. maybe the answer is to make sure that every private employee in this country gets a good health care plan. just because the fed is getting a pension plan does not mean we should cut it. maybe we ought to assure that pension plans for private employees and state and local employees are properly funded. what we are seeing right now is state budgets collapsing like crazy. new york state justice over nassau county because their finances are -- just took over nassau county because their finances are coming apart. part of it is underfunding of
the pension system. so you have to be careful about making these comparisons and asking what they mean. there are a lot of americans out there suffering right now, too many who are suffering, and they do not have health care, they do not have the compensation system that the federal employees do, and many of the contractors do. but that does not mean we should cut federal compensation. it may mean that we make sure that everyone in america has access to the same. our caller is basically making us aware of that, and that is something to put on the table. host: what percentage of federal workers are members of unions? guest: e has been declining over the past five years or so. we are trying to come up with a figure -- i really do not know. 15% to 20% 80.
guest: have the union's offer their -- 15% to 20%, maybe. host: have the unions offered cuts? guest: i am quite supportive of the notion of pulling out jobs at the middle and the top. and driving those resources down to the bottom. a lot of union members are working really hard, trying to deliver these services and goods in a timely way. they do not get the resources they need. they do not get the help they need. i think unions can be brought into the conversation if they recognize that we can put more resources on the front line like our caller from baltimore who is dealing with the social security offices and those backlogs. but right now the unions are trying to figure out what their strategy is in the face of this
coming out of capitol hill that says cut, cut, cut. and the obama administration again has not been responsive to it except for the tepid pay freeze that has more holes in it than swiss cheese. i think the administration has to be more aggressive. host: c-span junkie tweets us -- bethesda, maryland, republican line, you are on the air. seato i feel there are pros and cons on each side. in my opinion, there definitely are some agencies that need to be cut. on the other hand, some agencies like the national institutes of health, is pretty well run. to say it is only lower-level workers you need, that is not true. but at the scientific discoveries that come out of the nih.
there are a lot of radiologists in the private sector that make $500,000. you need to attract the best and smartest people unless you do not want to do high-level stuff anymore. people if they work for the federal government, live in the d.c. area, which is extremely expensive. they are already taking major cuts by working for the government because maybe they really want to do research. but to go across the board and just freeze pay or say you do not need highly educated workers, it is the wrong premise. the down side is you will lose a lot of educated people that have a lot to offer. a lot of things go on here, and just to say that government is still really efficient and you
do not need highly skilled workers, i think that is totally untrue. host: thank you. dr. light, your response? guest: she is right. that speaks to a deliberate approach of dealing with the size of government. we cannot take the blunt ax to it, and it speaks to compensation variation by level. we ought to be paying doctors and researchers at nih more. maybe we pay others less. maybe we pay still others the same. you cannot wield the blood acts here. -- the blunt ax here. you have to be careful and serious about it, but you can get it done very congratulations on her work. that is an agency that should be inflated, and given the physical space it needs to do its job, there is more flooding out there, i am told, then there is around the potomac river. they need good space. as a resource question.
c-span: a lot of the actions harry truman took made my life easier as president, and therefore many of the decisions i made to the executive order, i think the most controversy decisions are made to the executive order such as listening to the phone calls of people who might do us harm or enhanced interrogation techniques became the wall of the land in other words after the 04 elections and after the 06 elections i went to congress and said we need to ratify through the legislative action that i have done in the constitution by executive order. and so, the congress in spite of
the fact we had been dumped passed the law that now enables the president to have these certain tools, and people say why didn't you just leave it under the executive order, and the reason why is in some cases it might be too hard politically for a president to put out an executive order that for example authorizes enhanced interrogation techniques, but if that were the wall of the land passed by the legislative body it might be easier for that person to use that technique. >> see the entire interview sunday night at eight eastern and pacific on c-span's q&a. to reduce the federal budget deficit. this commission held a series of discussions on capitol hill about the budget and the economy. this is three and a half hours.
[inaudible] >> [inaudible] -- made by the president's commission on fiscal responsibility and reform. we are concerned that some of the recommendations will directly impact and in some cases harm the affordable communities. the congressional black caucus has authority year history presenting fiscally sound and responsible alternatives to the budget offered by both republicans and democrats.
a glaring omission from the various reports is a thoughtful analysis of how the recommendations will affect the nation's most economically vulnerable populations. recognizing this, the cdc has formed its own debt commission to focus on the recession particularly on the communities of color as well as the deficit reduction and implications for vulnerable populations and the nation at large and that is why we are hosting the first ever commission on the budget deficit economic crisis and will of creation that will address the federal budget deficit while protecting the importance safety net programs needed by the many communities. top african-american economists have come from all over the nation to share with us and i
will be joined by my colleagues maxine waters and congressman bobby scott sharing three discussions. congressman will give closing remarks and we're also joined by the congresswoman, christiansen from the u.s. virgin islands. the moderator's today are maya rockymore president of global marketing solutions and jonathan of the "washington post" and jamal simmons of the rayburn group, and we are elated that despite the snow, and i'm from texas originally, and i had never seen mass panic by a sprinkling of snowflakes like i have seen here in washington where it snows every year.
nonetheless, you have taken time out of your busy schedule to come and share in this exciting and what we believe to be necessary discussion today. we will begin with panel one moderated by maya rockymore. like me, she is originally from wichita falls texas and also, like me a graduate of a and m university. she also happens to be married to a friend, my colleague and former chair elijah cummings. dr. maya rockymore leaves the global policy solutions that washington d.c.-based policy firm that works to create and advance social change strategies for the world. a former adjunct professor and the women in politics institute at the american university. she has also served as a vice president of research programs
of the congressional black caucus foundation, a senior resident scholar at the national urban league, chief of staff to congressman charlie rangel and professional staff of the house ways and means committee. let me just also say that as a pastor in my real life, we look at checkbooks as a statement of who a person is. we say quite often if you would like to see the belief of a human being go through their checkbook. it will reveal what they believe, with the support, what they like, and what they want in the future and what is true of individuals is quite often true of nations so we believe that the united states budget is a declaration of who we are. are we a nation of